Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas CD Review:The JAC - I See Things Differently

I posted this week’s Slumgullion much earlier today. Here’s a new review of a holiday CD.

Singer-multi-instrumentalist Joe Algeri has been recording Christmas songs for over 10 years, and he's collected some of his favorites on I See Things Differently. Now known as The JAC, he has an obvious love of 1960s pop as well as an offbeat sense of humor. The JAC not only takes a different view of Christmas than most people, he offers an alternative perspective on nearly every track.

His approach is subversive on “Going Down,” somber on “Yuletide Heroin Blues,” and fun on "Surfin' Santa." He even sounds reverent on the delicately pretty “Sweet Baby Jesus.” The humor doesn't always click. “Santa, All I Want (Is Cindy Brady)” and “I Saw Santa With A Gun” sound strained. Still, the CD is a showcase for The JAC's studio expertise (particularly the gorgeous layers of vocals) and knack for creating inviting melodies. The energetic title track and “Stockholm Christmas” are particularly impressive.

The JAC adds two bonus tracks, and they're both gems. “Chris Hillman Christmas,” recorded by his international trio The Britannicas, is a ringing tribute to The Byrds, and “The Basement,” created by one Algeri's other groups, Green Beetles, sets holiday/romantic nostalgia to a blast of power pop. Whether working alone, or with other musicians, The JAC fill his Santa's bag with enough goodies to make I See Things Differently worthwhile. 

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